Jenifer Ringer 'Too Many Sugar Plums' Controversy Highlights Dangers of Body Image Obsession and Power of Recovery

Dancer's Response to New York Times Critic Asserts Positive Self-Image Can Create Real Change, according to Dr. Kimberly Dennis

Dec 21, 2010, 16:39 ET from Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

NEW YORK, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A November 28th performance of The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet inspired controversy after New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay criticized dancer Jenifer Ringer, who is dancing the role of the Sugar Plum fairy, not for her performance, but for perceived issues with her weight, claiming she "looked as if she'd eaten one sugar plum too many." But according to Dr. Kimberly Dennis, who specializes in eating disorder treatment and is medical director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, the dancer's eloquent and reasoned response to Macaulay provides a positive story of recovery.

"Ms. Ringer spoke with such clarity and confidence, and with not an ounce of resentment in her demeanor," said Dennis. "She demonstrates a healthy and rare ability to detach with love from the criticism of the critic. I agree with the ballerina that bodies that are starved cannot perform. The NYC dance troupe, which she asserts celebrates dancers' bodies of all shapes and sizes, is truly to be commended."

"As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form," Jenifer Ringer, 37, told The Today Show's Ann Curry during an interview Monday. "At the same time, I am not overweight."

Ringer has openly talked about her struggles with anorexia over the length of her ballet career. After Macaulay's article received national attention, both the dancing community and online spectators rushed to Ringer's defense. The dancer declined to ask for an apology while still firmly insisting her weight is healthy and in no way impedes her ability to dance.

"Ms. Ringer nicely highlights how real change happens—by one woman in recovery sharing her recovery with others. That's what she's completed in her interviews, that's what she does each and every time she dances with a healthy body. If we waited for the media and culture at large to initiate the change, we'd be waiting a long time, and the death toll associated with that wait would continue to rise," said Dr. Dennis.

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center is located on 43 beautiful acres just outside Chicago, offering a nurturing environment of recovery for women ages 12 and older struggling to overcome eating disorders, substance abuse, mood disorders and co-occurring disorders. By serving with uncompromising care, relentless compassion and an unconditional joyful spirit, we help our residents help themselves in their recovery. For more information, visit www.timberlineknolls.com or call 877.257.9611.

SOURCE Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center



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